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gay marriage

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The majority of tribal nations across the country do not recognize same sex marriage. Because of tribal sovereignty, the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality does not apply.

Many gay tribal members are struggling to balance celebration for LGBTQ members across the states and the sting that comes with knowing they may not be able to marry within their own nation.

 

Okla. National Guard / Flickr.com

Governor Mary Fallin has signed into law a bill that allows ministers to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if such marriages conflict with their religious beliefs.

Fallin said Friday that the law will protect the constitutional and religious rights of Oklahomans.

Troy Stevenson of Freedom Oklahoma, which advocates for gay and transgender rights in Oklahoma, has said he believes the bill is unnecessary but that he supports the spirit of the law.

KellyK / Flickr Creative Commons

Legislation that protects members of the clergy who refuse to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony has been approved by the Oklahoma House and Senate.

The House voted 87-8 for the bill Wednesday while a nearly identical bill passed the Senate on a 38-5 vote. All opposing votes came from Democrats.

The bills protect clergy members and others authorized to perform weddings from being required to perform them if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. They also shield churches from being required to participate in the ceremonies.

Oklahoma State Legislature

Judges or court clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples would lose their jobs under a bill that has been approved by a House committee.

The House Judiciary and Civil Procedure Committee voted 5-3 on Tuesday for the "Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act." The bill now proceeds to the full House for a vote.

okhouse.gov

A bill that would allow Oklahoma ministers to be immune from civil liability for refusing to officiate a same-sex marriage has cleared a House committee.

The bill by Broken Arrow Republican Rep. David Brumbaugh passed the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday with a 7-2 vote. It now heads to the full House for consideration.

The bill states licensed ministers shall be immune from any civil claim based on their refusal to recognize any marriage that violates the minister's "conscience or religious beliefs."

Oklahoma State Legislature

An Oklahoma legislator who has introduced several anti-gay bills for the upcoming session is withdrawing one measure because she says it didn't accomplish what she intended.

State Rep. Sally Kern said Thursday she has decided to withdraw her bill that would have allowed Oklahoma businesses to refuse service to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person or group. Kern says her intention was to provide immunity from civil liability to business owners who refuse to provide a product or service to a gay person, like a baker who refuses to make a cake for a gay wedding.

The Freedom Oklahoma press conference on January 26, 2015.
Freedom Oklahoma / Facebook

Gay rights supporters say Oklahoma is at the forefront of a wave of anti-gay legislation that is unfairly discriminatory and they plan to launch a campaign in the state to oppose more than a dozen bills introduced for the session that begins next week.

Some measures would give broad authority to businesses and corporations to discriminate against gay people. Others would ensure court clerks would not have to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Another would allow for so-called conversion therapy to help gay children end "unwanted sexual attraction."

The Freedom Oklahoma press conference on January 26, 2015.
Freedom Oklahoma / Facebook

Two of Oklahoma’s most prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups announced Monday they are merging to form a united voice to fight what they called a number of “hate-filled” measures pre-filed for the 2015 session.

“The LGBT community of Oklahoma is under attack and we’re here to tell you we plan on fighting back, Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, said during a Capitol press conference Monday.

Freedom Oklahoma brings together The Equality Network, a Tulsa-based LGBT political advocacy organization, and the Cimarron Alliance Foundation, the Oklahoma City-based LGBT public education organization.

Stevenson said the group will hold town hall meetings across the state and deploy citizen lobbyists to address issues of concern. “We will be here. We will be present. We will make sure legislators that know: If you’re going to legislative against our rights, you are going to have to do it while you look us in the eye,” Stevenson said.

“A handful of vitriolic Oklahoma legislators, which do not represent the entire Legislature and they do not represent the state of Oklahoma, have put 10 hate-filled bills before this body,” said Stevenson.

A trio of bills by Rep. Sally Kern are among several anti-gay bills that have been filed with the state legislature.

Oklahomans for Equality Advocacy Chair Mike Redman said Kern's filings especially are no surprise.

"Sally Kern targets the gay and lesbian community every opportunity that she gets," Redman said. "She is at the end of her term limit career, and she's just using this as another publicity opportunity to take one final jab at the gay and lesbian community."

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The head of a gay advocacy group says more than 3,200 marriage licenses have been issued since they became available to same-sex couples in Oklahoma.

Toby Jenkins, executive director of Oklahomans for Equality, says marriage licenses have been issued in 23 of Oklahoma's 77 counties since Oct. 6.

That's when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to reconsider an Oklahoma's judge's ruling that struck down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The botched execution of Clayton Lockett in April has been voted Oklahoma's top story for 2014.

Lockett's execution prompted the state to impose a moratorium on executions and led to new discussions on the future of the death penalty.

Court action legalizing gay marriages was voted second by Associated Press members, and a workplace beheading in Moore is third.

A series of sexual-assault charges against Oklahoma lawmen is fourth and troubles within Oklahoma's public school system is fifth.

ssalonso / Flickr.com

Same-sex couples have been getting married in Oklahoma since October and at least one has gotten divorced.

The Oklahoman reports a judge granted what is likely the state's first same-sex divorce on Oct. 15 to Deanne Baker and Julie Baker of Oklahoma City. They were married in Iowa in July 2012 and Deanne Baker filed for divorce this summer.

A federal judge in January ruled Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriages as unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on Oct. 6.

Human Rights Campaign

A report from a gay civil rights group says the city of Norman ranks higher than the national average for supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

The third annual report from the Human Rights Campaign ranks more than 350 cities nationwide, including four in Oklahoma — Broken Arrow, Norman, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. The 2014 Municipal Equality Index rated cities based on 47 separate criteria under categories like non-discriminatory laws, relationship recognition, law enforcement, and employment policies.

Cavan Images / Flickr Creative Commons

The State of Oklahoma began offering benefits to married same-sex couples Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case concerning the constitutionality of the state's same-sex marriage ban, leaving in place a lower court ruling that found it unconstitutional. 

Office of Management and Enterprise Services Spokesman John Estus confirmed Thursday officials began allowing married same-sex couples to enroll their spouses in the state employee benefit plan on Monday. 

Fibonacci Blue / Flickr.com

Court clerks in six Oklahoma counties say the pace of same-sex couples requesting marriage licenses has slowed a bit a day after gay marriage became legal in the state.

Clerks in several counties briefly surveyed by phone Tuesday by The Associated Press also reported no instances where same-sex couples were turned away.

Gay Marriage In Oklahoma Begins And Some Varied Reactions

Oct 6, 2014
Fibonacci Blue / Flickr.com

The process of the first same-sex couple to marry in Cleveland County started with a squeak – the sound of the official stamp on a marriage license.

Kristen and Heather Dickey are now the first same-sex couple to marry in Cleveland County. The two have been together for over a decade, but Kristen Dickey says holding an official marriage license is pretty surreal.

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The plaintiffs in a gay marriage lawsuit in Oklahoma have married during a ceremony on the steps of the Tulsa County Courthouse.

Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin were married late Monday afternoon before dozens of friends, family members and supporters. Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals Judge Jane Wiseman officiated the ceremony.

Bishop and Baldwin were the lead plaintiffs who challenged Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage in 2004, shortly after 76 percent of Oklahoma voters approved the ban.

David / Flickr.com

The U.S. Supreme Court has formally added gay marriage cases to the justices' agenda for their closed-door conference on Sept. 29.

The action Wednesday does not mean that the court will decide that day to hear state appeals of lower court rulings that struck down bans on same-sex marriage. But the late September conference will be the first time the justices have the issue before them. The meeting will be the justices' first since late June.

Day-Only Divorce For Same-Sex Married Couple

Sep 2, 2014
A sign supporting gay marriage in California on the first day same-gender couples could legally marry there.
Marc Love / flickr.com Creative Commons

An Oklahoma County special judge granted a divorce to a same-sex couple in August—then vacated that order a day later, court records show.

The case underscores continuing confusion in the state regarding same-sex marriages.

In July, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, and Deanne R. Baker filed for the divorce within two weeks of that ruling from her spouse, Julie L. Baker. The women were married to each other in Iowa two years ago

Office Of The Governor

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage is an example of federal courts trampling on the rights of states to govern themselves.

Fallin issued a statement Friday after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver struck down Oklahoma's constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Fallin said the amendment was approved by 76 percent of Oklahoma voters in 2004.

"I was one of the many voters who cast my ballot in favor of traditional marriage," she said. 

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